The pie's the limit for Martin after FIFTH World Pie Eating Championships victory

One of the planet's most prestigious sporting events took place at lunchtime ... the annual World Pie Eating Championships!

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 2:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 4:33 pm
The tense pie-off between eventual winner Martin Appleton-Clare (right) and newcomer Ian Gerrard

Dozens of finely tuned athletes gathered for the event in Harry's Bar in the town centre and limbered up by downing pints and munching on pork scratchings.

After the traditional "3,2,1 get eating" countdown was over, the frenzied action began and after an initial tie between two competitors, Martin Appleton-Clare was crowned this year's champion - his FIFTH win - in a time of just 19.6 seconds.

The table was cleared for a pie-off showdown between the defending champ and newcomer Ian Gerrard, who, despite a valiant effort to chow down a second pie, could not prevent the triumphant Appleton-Clare from lifting The Poulet Surprise trophy.

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The tense pie-off between eventual winner Martin Appleton-Clare (right) and newcomer Ian Gerrard

This year's crown meant more than anything to Martin after undertaking a gruelling 365-day binge training camp to keep his champion status.

He said: "It feels amazing to have won it again, especially after being taken all the way in the pie-off for the first time ever - I was nervous to say the least!

"I love entering every year, it's a great occasion and a lot of fun.

"This year's pies were very messy compared to previous years, which is difficult when you consider the rules don't allow for you to get your pie everywhere.

Let battle commence

"I would like to thank my wife for supporting me in this effort; I couldn't have done it without her.

"We will celebrate it by going Christmas shopping, and it will give me a chance to walk off these pies!"

When asked about what he thought of people scorning at the idea of pie-eaters being labelled athletes, Martin challenged the naysayers to turn up to next year's competition to let their eating do the talking.

He said: "You can be Ronaldo or Messi, but at the end of the day that physique won't stand you in good stead in this arena, I'm afraid!"

Five-times winner Martin Appleton-Clare receives his trophy from pie-master Tony Callaghan

More than 20 male and female athletes competed in the Championship, which commenced at "Pie Noon".